Much of my time and much of the entertainment on my trips loosely falls under the term "social projects". Beca Project is a main focus and a gift to me that just keeps on giving, on beyond family visits, the rooftop ice cream fiestas, the graduations, and graduate's family events that have already been featured in recent blog posts.
For many years before Ti Wachooch entered our lives, the Cooperativa Spanish School was my central base in San Pedro La Laguna. It gets more beautiful every visit.
Sometimes I visit the school and find Beca student kids there. Here Florinda and Maria Guadalupe are creating Christmas letters for their sponsors.
Another time the mothers of Maria Concepción and Mariano Donahi brought a wonderful lunch to the school as a thank you - paches (potato tamales) and bread and a delicious, hot fruit drink I'd never tried before. They thought it was hilarious that I thought it was chicken soup until I took a sip.
I run into Beca kids and their families all over town. Here's Noe playing fútbol with neighborhood kids.
Maria Cecilia with her mother and (uncharacteristically serious) brother near the market
Candelaria heading home from the market
Juana Micaela (in yellow) with 4 of her family members in the park
Evelin Elena and her daughter, Rosario, in the cemetery during Día de los Muertos; Rosario was a little grouchy until she saw my camera. :-)
Here's the chocolate business Beca student Dorcas (right), her sister, and another woman have started.
Dorcas talked to us about the process they go through to make and market their chocolate.
They sell honey, too.
Another Beca Project event I look forward to is shopping. Some of the sponsors donate money so their students and families can go shopping. Mynor and I looked down the list and picked out 8 additional students with an especially high level of need; my sister Kathy helped me cover the cost of taking them shopping, too (thanks, Kathy!). Most of the families want sacks of dried corn that will be made into tortillas but some buy staples like vegetable oil and household products like toothpaste and soap. They are a blast to shop with - sweet ladies.
The students and sometimes their siblings shop for shoes, sweaters, blouses, and outerwear.
Francisco Axpijila's little brothers
Maria Chavajay Yaxón
While we were in San Pedro, Mynor received an enormous box of donated soccer items, collected and sent from California by Beca Project sponsor Anne Parzick who has spent time the last 2 summers living with a local family while her sons study Spanish. Mike and I had the pleasure of meeting a local fútbol club on their home field and helping to present the items to the kids and their coach.
Looks like this boy is in line for new shoes!
Using the cool new stuff!
Another project that is very close to my heart is the Cooperativa Spanish School's Kamoon home building project. Part of each Spanish student's tuition goes toward these homes and many Beca Project sponsors have been really generous in their donations to this fund. They recently completed home #4 for Maria. She helps around Mynor and Josefa's house; 1 afternoon when she left work I took her shopping as a house warming gift and she gave me a tour. I've known Maria for 6 or 7 years and am so happy to see her in this beautiful new home, completed since our last visit to San Pedro.
The view of the lake from the roof
Another day we got to meet the family next in line for a new home and to help make a video about the project. I'll post the link here to the video when it's ready. It's a lovely setting just a few blocks from Ti Wachooch; the family has no electricity or running water and is currently living in 2 small structures - a covered cooking area made mostly of corn stalks and a small sleeping area with 1 bed that was originally built to store corn. I look forward to the day when they can give me a tour of their new home, too.
There is no end to the happy, productive ways to stay busy in San Pedro. HAPPY TRAILS!
You can find the complete photo collection for this trip HERE.